The World Refugee Day

June 22, 2016

The United Nations Resolution 55/76 from December 4, 2000 marks June 20th as the World Refugee Day. The World Refugee Day has been marked since 2001 so that the global population could be informed on the difficult conditions in which refugees find themselves in. The year 2015 was marked by the Escalation of an unprecedented refugee crisis that hit Europe. According to UNHCR statistics, one out of 113 people globally are impacted by the crisis, and the number of displaced persons is at a record high. At the end of 2015, there were 63.3 million refugees worldwide, which represents a dramatic increase when compared to 59.5 million registered only 12 months prior. Nowadays, when very minute counts 24 new refugees, 3.2 million people in industrially developed countries await decisions in their asylum procedures, while there are 21.3 million refugees worldwide. The remaining 40.8 million are internally displaced persons. The largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons come from war-stricken and poverty-stricken countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Ukraine, Columbia, Sudan, Yemen and others.

The refugee problem received special attention in Europe during 2015 as, notwithstanding the 500.000 refugees that fled Ukraine (where 1.5 million are also internally displaced), 4.4 million refugees (2.5 million of which are in Turkey) arrived from other parts of the world, the largest number of which from Syria. In 2015 alone 577,995 registered refugees passed through Serbia, which is just a part of the total number. Regardless of the dramatic increase as compared to previous years, only 30 asylum requests were adopted.

Little has changed in 2016 despite the fact that efforts were invested to close migration routes. Although refugees arrive to Europe in essentially the same numbers, the new restrictions made it so that they are basically not being registered anywhere and are moving along alternative routes with the assistance of smugglers. They are, therefore, exposed to the risk of being attacked, abuses, and fraud.

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights invites all competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia, as well as of other countries along the migration route, and the European Union leadership to find humane solutions for refugees while fully respecting their human rights, human dignity and European values. We would also like to stress and emphasize that special attention should be provided for vulnerable groups – women, children and victims of violence. A national strategy for the treatment of especially vulnerable groups must be created so that Serbia could fully fulfill its obligations as intended by accession negations with the EU.